Month: November 2021

Chief Medical Officers for England’s Annual Report 2021

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Earlier this month, courtesy of the Coastal Communities Alliance, I had the privilege of taking part in online presentation given by Professor Chris Witty, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England in which he outlined the detail of his 2021 Annual Report: Health in coastal communities, first published in July of this year. 

In late July I circulated that report with a note highlighting what I believed then and still do, to be its much wider significances in England and potential beyond.  In this of all year the CMO had deliberately chosen to major, not on Covid-19 but on the health and wellbeing of coastal communities. In the report he looks in some detail at the shared conditions and circumstances that contribute to generally poorer health and wellbeing, outcomes, clear articulates what the wider causes and consequences are, why they are occurring and makes some robust recommendations.  Most of these, if implemented, would have positive socio-economic consequences attached that would improve social and economic conditions (including tourism and the visitor economy) rather than just health and wellbeing alone; because of course these things are all intrinsically linked.

After pondering the impact of the report again over the last week I am forced to conclude that coastal destinations, individual or jointly may still be underplaying their hand and missing this rare golden opportunity to reinforce, full and proper understanding, at all levels of Government, of the causes and effects of their shared common social, economic, health, demographic and physical issues. I could of course be wrong and the report may have already been widely circulated and proactively used to highlight both the health and wellbeing issues and the wider problems that cause them and multiple other issues for coastal communities, many of which are popular, arguably tourist dependant destinations.

These matters have been repeatedly highlighted over the last two decades but proper understanding and a will to do something about them have waxed and waned between “campaigns”.  As perhaps illustrated by the loss of the Coastal Communities Fund, necessarily targeted interest in the coast may again be on the wane?  It is also worth considering that, although health and latterly wellbeing has been included within every reiteration back to at least the 1999 British Resorts Association’s Behind the Façade report, the public health narrative has usually been edited, if not authored, by economists and statistician and not by anyone with anything like the current profile, the medical background or the indisputable authority as that of the CMO for England. The opportunity that this level of authority brings to the health debate and, by inference, to everything associated with it should also be grasped by all, whether or not health and wellbeing is your discipline or that they sit neatly within your own portfolio.

If you have not done so already, please consider circulating the report to national, regional and local politicians and to officers and officials and to any and all other key, contacts including those working in health, social and economic development. In around 8 months’ time the CMO will issue his 2022 report on a different health related subject.  If the 2021 report has achieved some real traction by then it will continue to have wide utility for some time to come. If it hasn’t it may quickly become old news and, thus, be far more ease to ignore or simply forgotten.

My original note with the link to report can be accessed at:

The report can also be found in the British Destinations Research library under “Research and statistics – by year” and the “+” main menu tabs of These are in date order so you need to look back a few reports.

It is also included in the “by theme” dropdown menu under “coastal/seaside” specific reports:


Annual Conference 2021 report

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A brief report on the joint Tourism Alliance, Tourism Society and British Destinations’ conference held on 15 Nov 21, including the full slide pack, can be accessed from the conference menu tab of or go direct to the page at:

The event was very well attended and as ever with the tripartite membership there was a very wide range of tourism interests represented, this is undoubtedly the USP and the major strength of event, which facilitates a genuine cross fertilisation of ideas. I am most grateful to Quality in Tourism our sponsors for their support which allowed us to undertake the conference and attract such a high-profile group of speakers.

Disappointingly for destinations representatives in attendance, neither Nick De Bois the author of the English DMO review or the Tourism Minister were in a position brief on the final outcome of the review. Nick confirmed in his morning session that his review recommended c£17m PA to support a hub and spoke approach over the 3 years of the current CSR (and beyond). Both the hubs or tier 1 and the spokes, tier 2 would in Nick’s view need to be accredited by VisitEngland in order to access support. DCMS may not have sought the full £51m recommended from Treasury and, whatever sum was sought by them, we now know none was specifically made available.

If DCMS are to support the DMO review implementation financial, that will have to come from within core DCMS funding or from a reallocation of some of the additional monies made available specifically to other DCMS areas (presumably with further Treasury agreement?). In his session later in the day the Minister acknowledge the importance of the review and enthusiasm of many to see it implemented but in the circumstances was unable to give more detail on the direction of travel, until the internal CSR deliberations are completed. Between the two presentations there was a clear message that there was both a need and a narrowing opportunity to lobby for funding from within DCMS to allow the review to be implemented. The Minister made an interesting aside about finance, along the lines of there is never any harm in asking for more but we should avoid giving the impression we are not grateful for that we have already received.

At the fringes there were two critical questions aired which could be summarised as: is there a minimum level of funding which might do more harm to the whole DMO network than the undoubted good to those few who might receive it? What should the destination management and destination marketing community do individually, or jointly, should the review fail to attract any funding or too little to allow it to make a genuine difference nationally? Or what might be achieved without specific funding from within the review’s recommendation?

Big Data – What, How and Why? Zoom seminar 24 Nov 21 open to British Destination members

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Short title: ‘Big Data – What, How and Why?’

Long title: “Big Data – What’s currently available, how is it being used in tourism planning, management and marketing around the world and to what effect?”

Date: Wednesday 24th November 2021. 11.00am – 12.30pm (UK time)

Location: Virtual, via Zoom

The Tourism Consultants Network (TCN) is pleased to invite you to join our next virtual event on Wednesday November 24th (11.00 – 12.30 UK time) led by Chiara Caiati, Insights Manager at tourism intelligence specialists Mabrian, and her colleague Sonia Huerta, Head of Customer Success. They will be joined by Satpal Chana, Head of Data & Analytics at VisitBritain, who works with Mastercard’s Tourism Insights Platform, powered by Mabrian.

Mabrian and Mastercard travel intelligence platforms use the latest technology to provide leading destinations worldwide with real-time transactional and behavioural data and insights, to inform their sales and marketing activities and monitor effectiveness.

Chiara will give an overview of the platforms, and the range and depth of data provided by the company’s commercial partners, using case studies to illustrate the value to destinations. Satpal will give some feedback on the Tourism Insights Platform and will outline how he and his VisitBritain team are planning to use the platform, and which case studies are in the pipeline.

All are welcome. Small booking fee unless a TCN member. British Destinations members – special rate of £10

For more details. Go to:

Book your ticket here:

Sewage storm overflow, more than a storm in the political teacup?

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The growing popularity of “wild swimming” and the designation last year of the UK first riverine bathing water in Yorkshire suggests that the once largely coastal issues of designated bathing waters, the implementation of the 2013 bathing standards and a plethora of issues associated with achieving and maintaining standards, may have started to become a potential problem for far more destinations, many of them many miles from the sea.

The designation of a bathing water isn’t driven purely by local whim but by public health considerations and specifically the popularity and volume of use for swimming of any particular body of water gets. If a water is genuinely popular there are only two real options: have it designated, it or stop its usage. If you have bodies of water used regularly by a lot of swimmers then sooner or later it should be designated.

The problem for the coast for the best part of 40 years has largely been sewage discharges and subsequently once routine discharges were removed, storm overflow discharges mainly, but not exclusively, at or very near to the coast itself. Recent events now suggest that all may not be fully resolved at the coast itself and that far greater problems may now exist inland with significant routine and storm discharge to the river system polluting both the river systems and eventually areas of the coast.

The issue of sewage storm overflow in England has recently been in the national press, prompted by a rejection of Lords Amendment and a week or so later a relatively high-profile change of heart and introduction of a Government Amendment regarding sewage discharges and a duty on Water Companies to make greater improvements within the Environment Bill.

The UK beach management (part of British Destinations) post may be of interest to both coastal and any inland member with major bodies of water or significant rivers passing through them:

Change to programme and very last chance to book joint annual conference 15 November 21

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Regrettably the Parliamentary authorities have announced that all public events in the Westminster Parliamentary estate have been temporarily cancelled up to and including the 15 November. This means that the associated Westminster Parliamentary Tourism Industry Reception programme to be held from 4.00 to 6.00 pm, after our joint conference can no longer go ahead as planned.

We have looked at the options available and decided to marginally extended the afternoon programme, to give more time for Q&As on some of the key issues being discussed. We have also arranged for a tourism industry networking drinks reception to follow-on immediately from the conference, in the conference venue from 15.15 – 17.00.

This will give delegate a similar opportunity to meet and network with colleagues from the very wide group of tourism interests represented on the day. It is possible but not certain, that some Parliamentary colleagues may still attend. We also hope that it will not adversely impact on too many pre planned or booked travel arrangement for either those planning to attend the conference only or planning to attend both. As per the original Parliamentary reception, the networking opportunity is kindly supported by the Caravan and Motor Home Club.

Although the numbers for the conference have already been submitted, the venue has given us a further 48 hours to add to and confirm final figure. If you were intending to attend and have forgotten to book, or are still wavering there is still a narrow window of opportunity. More detail and the booking link can be accessed at:

New mood of the nation and pwc hotel recovery prospect research added.

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I have added the latest BVA BDRC Clearsights on recover report published last week to the C-19 research menu tab of British The report looks at the mood of consumers as at September 2021:

I have also added the annual PwC financial year 2021-22 Hotel Forecast to the main research library. Not unsurprisingly this year’s report looks at the emerging recover prospects for the UK hotels sector:

Both reports provide useful background intelligence which may be of value to destination managers and/or to your own local tourism business partners and stakeholders.

For those attending this year’s joint annual Tourism Alliance, Tourism Society and British Destinations’ conference in London on 15th November the reports may be a good scene setter for some of the critical strategic recovery issues being discussed on the day. If you have not yet booked ticket sales close early next week. More details and booking link at:


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In my latest update, those receiving the detail direct from the website as a blog will have had an incorrect version which suggested that if the Destination/Tourism BID model could be made to work on the Isle of Wight it was far less likely to be a viable option for other “mainland” destinations. That should of course have read couldn’t be made to work on the IOW it was far less likely to work elsewhere

The corrected version can be accessed at:

Quick updates: tourism BIDS, IPS figures and annual conference speakers

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1. On Friday 29th October the Wight BID the pan Isle of Wight Destination Business Improvement District was voted through for a second 5 year term. This will mean that a sum in excess of £3m will be available for marketing the destination through Visit Isle of Wight over the next 5 years. This good news for tourism businesses on the island but also good news for the Destination/Tourism BID model since if it couldn’t be made to work and work well on the Isle of Wight it was far less likely to be viable option for other “mainland” destinations. We will continue to work with Visit Isle of Wight Ltd to understand and share lessons learnt including problems avoided among the destination management and destination marketing community.

Congratulations to the BID team, BID Board and to the business community to getting the vote over the line in particularly challenging times.

2. ONS have released the quarter two (Q2 April to June 21) IPS figures. Notwithstanding the additional restrictions on inbound and outbound travel in place at that time, subsequently relaxed, the figures make grim reading for those directly or indirectly reliant to any degree on in and outbound international travel. They may also begin to help quantify one of the key factors driving the significant rise in UK staycations during the main summer season (covered by Q3 to follow in c 3 months?). The results come with two important caveats, the survey were conducted only at airports and the sample size was very small. The VB summary of the ONS release (featuring inbound only) is reproduced below. The short ONS report is at: Overseas travel and tourism, provisional – Office for National Statistics ( the UK outbound figures at paragraph 4.

3. In view of the latest IPS figure the addition of a session on international travel at the joint Tourism Alliance, Tourism Society and British Destinations Annual Conference on Monday 15 Nov 21 is timely. As announced late last week, World Travel and Tourism Council CEO and President, Julia Simpson will now speak on the Prospects for International Tourism. More detail and booking link available at:

The text of the VisitBritain summary of the ONS release reads:

Good Morning All,

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) have published the provisional Q2 2021 results of the International Passenger Survey (IPS).

During the first half of 2021 (January to June 2021), the IPS survey was operational at UK airports only. In ordinary times surveying would also be conducted at UK tunnel terminals (Eurostar and Eurotunnel) as well as some UK sea ports (e.g. Dover), but this was not possible during this period. Therefore, the data presented below and elsewhere on our website for Q1 & Q2 2021 is for air passengers only and is not comparable with historical UK total data. The comparisons made below compare April-June 2021 air data to April-June 2019 air data only as no equivalent is available for 2020. The sample for this period is very low so extreme caution should be used when interpreting results.

Please find Q2 2021 data below and on our dedicated 2021 quarterly webpage where there is additional detail on year-to-date figures.

Visits, spend and nights (air passengers only)

TotalQ2 2021% change vs. Q2 2019
Spend£386 million-94%
Nights13.0 million-78%
  • There were 277,000 inbound visits to the UK in Q2 2021 – down 97% compared to Q2 2019.
  • Spend was down 94% on Q2 2019 with visitors spending £386 million in the UK during Q2 2021.
  • In total, 13.0 million nights were spent in the UK by inbound visitors during Q2 2021, down 78% on Q2 2019.
  • The average spend per visit in Q2, amongst those who departed the UK via an airport was £1,395 (vs £747 in Q2 2019).

Visits and spend by journey purpose (air passengers only)

Journey PurposeVisits Q2 2021% change vs. Q2 2019Spend Q2 2021% change vs. Q2 2019
Holiday13,000-99.6%£21 million-97%
VFR173,000-93%£156 million-94%
Business44,000-97%£74 million-78%
Study18,000-87%£91 million-85%
Miscellaneous (Excl. study)29,000-93%£44 million-88%
  • All journey purposes were a fraction of normal levels in Q2 2021. The table above shows the impact that restricted international travel has had on the UK’s inbound holiday visits with just 13,000 visits registered.
  • Visits to friends and relatives accounted for the majority of inbound visits in Q2 2021, representing 62% of all inbound visits by air and 40% of spend.
  • Study visits were the least impacted in Q2 2021 although visits were still down 86% on two years previous, contributing £91 million to the UK inbound AIR expenditure.
  • There were 44,000 business visits in Q2 2021 which accounted for 16% of all visits. Business spend was the least impacted and represented one fifth (19%) of inbound AIR spend.

Visits and spend by global region (air passengers only)

TotalVisits Q2 2021% change vs. Q2 2019Spend Q2 2021% change vs. Q2 2019
Total Europe183,000-96%£190 million-92%
→ EU Total157,00097%£156 million-92%
→ EU 15115,000-97%£112 million-93%
→ Other EU42,000-94%£43 million-89%
→ Rest of Europe26,000-95%£34 million-91%
North America45,000-97%£60 million-95%
Rest of World49,000-97%£136 million-94%
  • Across all regions, AIR visits to the UK were down between 94% and 97% when compared to Q2 2019.
  • ‘Other EU’ (which consists of Bulgaria, Estonia, Poland, Romania – amongst others) showed the strongest resilience with visits down 94% and spend down 89% compared to Q2 2019.
  • Visits from the EU accounted for 57% of all inbound AIR visits but a smaller 40% of spend during Q2 2021.
  • The Rest of World region accounted for 18% of visits but nearly double the proportion of spend (35%), in line with the 2019 trend.

Our latest central scenario forecast, as of September 3rd 2021, for 2021 is for 7.4 million visits and £5.3 billion spend. Please visit our website at for more information on this forecast and the latest update.

The ONS have made every effort to produce high-quality estimates for the periods when IPS data is not being collected but have not been able to produce a full set of results due to the risks associated with the results being misleading. More detailed information on the approach used to produce 2020 results where interviewing had been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found on the ONS website and for Q2 2021 details are on this ONS page.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or comments.



Devki Patel, Insights Consultant

VisitBritain, 3 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1W 0BD

She/her T: 0207 578 1097 | E:

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